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World Briefing / Zimbabwe

Tsvangirai car crash blamed on poor security

March 08, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai left the hospital bandaged and mourning his wife after a car crash that his supporters blamed partly on insufficient security provided by President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change called for an investigation into the collision with a truck carrying U.S. aid, but cautioned against concluding that it was another assassination attempt against the longtime opposition leader.

Friday's crash nonetheless "could have been avoided" if Tsvangirai had the kind of motorcade that usually travels with Mugabe, said Tendai Biti, the country's new finance minister and Tsvangirai's No. 2 in the party. An MDC official who was traveling with Tsvangirai said the premier's Toyota Land Cruiser was accompanied by three vehicles carrying MDC security and one with Mugabe's agents.

Tsvangirai was headed to a weekend rally in his home region when the accident occurred. Tsvangirai's spokesman said the car carrying the prime minister, his wife, driver and bodyguard had sideswiped the truck and rolled over at least three times.

Susan Tsvangirai, 50, was pronounced dead soon after arrival at a clinic about 25 miles from Harare, the capital.

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